The 'critical' trials behind the scenes

Megan Ford, Executive Director of Clinical Trials at The Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Liverpool.

Megan Ford, Executive Director of Clinical Trials at The Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Liverpool.

Megan Ford has never been so glad to not recruit into a clinical trial.

Ms Ford, who is the Executive Director of Clinical Trials at The Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, is one of the many women in science who are behind the fight against COVID-19 in south-west Sydney.

"We started 21 COVID-19 clinical trials in our local health district that looked at diagnosing, treating and looking at data for people who were COVID-positive," she said.

"We haven't been able to recruit into a lot of those clinical trials which is good because it meant we didn't have the patients which was great."

But her work doesn't end there. The team at The Ingham Institute are working to identify the best approach for patients with COVID-19.

One of Ms Ford's main roles - which has changed "quite significantly" since COVID-19 - is to ensure if another pandemic does hit is to ensue "good plans and processes" are in place to allow people to remain on clinical trials safely and be able to be treated while on those clinical trials.

COVID-19 trials included exploring the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 and the mental health impacts.

There was also a trial of COVID-19 Remote Sensor Patient Monitoring. Using remote sensor technology, the study captured the patients critical biometrics via an arm band worn 22-23 hour per day.

"When someone got COVID they were isolated and got called up twice a day and asked questions. With this device, we were able to monitor respiratory rate, heart rate, temperature and oxygen saturation and we could see if we needed to intervene earlier rather than later," she said.

"What we do with clinical trials is find real solutions to problems that impact the community.

"The insights and data from clinical trials are critical for new medications, devices and treatment regimes that become embedded into clinical care."

Currently there are more than 100 clinical trial coordinators and 350 investigators working on 420 clinical trials at The Ingham Institute.